POS systems vs. paper records?

Here are a few Q&A's when is comes to restaurant point of sale systems. Because there are still many restaurateurs that makes the same costly mistakes, I give you this simple guide so to help you out.
 
 
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Sept. 9, 2009 - PRLog -- While everybody knows that recording data by hand eats your time, imagine recording every business transaction by hand, you'll think it'll probably take you weeks or even months. And it still doesn't include the time to copy all the data into a spreadsheet or database for further analysis!

A point of sale system can keeps track of sales, returns, taxes, inventory, and more so you'd have more time to concentrate on other important future plans for your business. While your POS system do the tiring and crucial task of recording business data, it saves time and increases productivity more than makes up for the expenditure.

I’m not tech savvy. Will I still be able to use a POS system?

Absolutely. Have your vendor help you set up the software to do the things that you want. And then be able to navigate a POS system's menu easily. When your POS vendor sets you up, they will provide full training with you and your employees for how to use it. And if there's any problem with the system, a POS customer service professional is just a phone call away!

What are the requirements?

For starters, you'll be needing a phone connection, internet connection and working electrical outlets. If you already have these, then your POS vendor will be able to set you up immediately! Most vendors will provide you with computers as part of their packages so you don't even need to own a computer in the first place.

Does a POS system prevent theft?

A reliable POS system has multiple tools that can help you accomplish this. There are various applications which can allow you to track every item in your inventory so you can estimate exactly how much profit you should expect at every sale, as well as be able to pinpoint weaknesses within the business. And in case of differences on the sales reports, it'll raise a red flag so you be warned about problems that needs immediate attention.

Can it handle sales or manage my inventory?

Both! You can input all the information you want AND check out the inventory... and those aren't just the only things you can do, there are lots more you can do with POS. POS terminal and software also allows you to track sales performance, generate different reports, set up reminders for inventory that’s about to empty, and plan future sales campaigns. You can use the customer data you collect to target effective sales campaigns and fill your shelves with their mostly purchased items.

Should I go for wireless technology?

If you're a business person on the go, especially doing trade shows or processing orders in a restaurant, it's best if you use wireless technology. With this, you can easily process any transaction without having to go back to a POS terminal.

Which monitor should I use?

Flat-screen LCD monitors provides many benefits for a restaurant compared to CTR monitors. LCD monitors are attractive for customers, easy to place on top of any counter table, doesn't need much electricity and lasts longer. CRT screens would be fine for low volume sales and if you are not really sure that POS is the right one for your business. But with the additional benefits when it comes to flat screen monitors, there's only a bit cost difference between the two.

A dot matrix printer or a thermal printer?

For most businesses, a thermal printer works best. There are less moving parts so it’s less likely to break down. It’s also the only option if you are going to work wirelessly. Even so, the dot-matrix printers are a safer choice in hospitality kitchens because of the heat from the ovens, grills, and fryers could warp thermal paper and ink.

What happens if my POS breaks down while conducting business?

This is one of the top reasons why it’s important to regularly back up your database. System failures can and will happen eventually, without warning – power outages, system crashes, viruses, natural disasters, etc. By having a backup solution in place (more preferable is an offsite backup so your critical data is protected), you are assured of being able to restore lost or damaged files, and be able to run the business back in no time. More importantly, with backups, you can ensure that you can easily recover all customer information, your sales figures and reports that you've saved prior to the crash.

What kind of customer support can I expect?

As much as we'd love to give you a simple answer, unfortunately there isn't one. Customer service policies will vary from vendor to vendor. While one might have round-the-clock telephone support and local repair technicians, others may only have phone support during normal business hours and can only schedule repair requests a full day in advance.

This is one of the key advantages to meeting with multiple vendors during your POS search, you can look into the offerings of different vendors and take your time before making a purchasing decision.

What  if I have multiple locations, can I still use a POS system?

Generally, if you a few more of POS systems in various locations of your businesses, you can choose from two options. The first is each location operates independently with its own terminal and software. You can then send reports over to the corporate offices at the end of the day or week.

The second option involves connecting all terminals to one server allowing real time uploading and downloading of reports and sales figures. The benefit of the second option is that it’s available remotely. But, since several POS terminals will be working on the same server, expect backlogs when all send their information at once.

With both solutions, it’s imperative to have a robust back up solution since all locations are connected to one server – if it fails, every location could be inoperable.

Does my POS software needs license?

You typically need an individual license for each terminal hosted on your network. There are vendors who'll offer you discounts depending on the number of terminals that needs licenses.

What about a service contract?

It’s certainly worth the expense if you want your business up and running all day. Once you get set up with a POS system, you'll be able to use for day-to-day business operations and analysis for future plans. If your computer breaks or suffered a disaster, you probably don’t want to keep it any longer.

There are maintenance contracts offered by vendors, depends on the vendor, which can cost a couple hundred bucks a year who can provide you services each time a POS terminal of yours breaks, so you can go ahead and concentrate in making your profits grow.

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Need more information or perhaps an online resource?

The author of this article writes for POS-For-Restaurants.com, a VP of Customer Relations with over 20 years experience in restaurant point of sale system, helping restaurant owners nationwide increase their efficiency and bottom-line profits.

You may visit http://www.pos-for-restaurants.com for more information on how our national network of restaurant point of sale experts can help your business achieve greater success in these difficult economic times.

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